By Cary Shuman
Russell Sanford moved to Winthrop in 1982. He’s been a part of the fabric of the community every day since then, whether it be his work as a youth sports coach for his daughters’ teams, his service as a member of the Winthrop School Committee, or his current position as a Winthrop town councillor representing Precinct 5 on the nine-member board.
He also operates his own business, Level Line, a general contracting firm.
Sanford knows these are tough economic times for Winthrop, the state, and the nation, the effects of which have hit close to his home.
“There are some real tough times going on in the nation, obviously, with lots of people losing their jobs,” said Sanford. “I realize that a lot of people have lost faith in their government and in politicians.”
Sanford said he looks at his town differently than he looks at the nation and some of the things occurring in government.
“We have to change our own destiny,” he said. “We’re kind of in charge of our own destiny [with the May 19 override election].”
Sanford said he was inspired to run for local office after hearing people’s frustrations about the status quo.
“I hear people’s frustrations, and a lot of times, I’m pretty frustrated about how things go, and that’s why I decided to get involved as a councilman and on the School Committee in the past,” said Sanford.
Sanford has read the numerous letters in the Transcript, heard residents speak out at council meetings, and attended all the forums, including one Tuesday night at which State Senator Anthony Petruccelli appeared. He thinks it’s time for residents to speak up, get involved, and, most importantly, exercise their right to vote in the May 19 election.
“We really need this override – this is the real deal,” said Sanford. “We have lost services – people don’t realize that, because they see that the lights are on in the schools and at Town Hall, and they see the police and fire departments responding to incidents,” he said. “But we’re on such a fine line of people not only losing services but people being put in situations that might be detrimental. Everybody is right on the edge of failure, and I don’t want to see that happen in Winthrop.”
Sanford said people should consider their vote for an override as “a reinvestment in the town”.
“I hope people can and will vote to reinvest, and that’s what we have to look at this as,” said Sanford. “I know it’s an override, I know it’s a tax, but I look at it as reinvesting in the town of Winthrop. That’s all we have – Winthrop is our nest egg. We’re either going to rise as a community or fall as a community. It’s not me against you, or you against me, if you agree or disagree with the Proposition 2 1/2 override – it’s all about us. Either we rise or fall as a community.”
Sanford said he understood the fragile economic plight of some residents. “People are in economic times that are difficult, but if people can see their way clear, they should really consider this vote and this Proposition 2 1/2 override. We can’t look at a street sweeper as a luxury. The most simple things may go away and we need help. I’m hoping that people will vote yes. If they don’t, I’ll understand the reason why and I’ll never hold anything against them, but I’m hoping we can pull together and really make it happen,” he said.